July 2014 – The European College of Sport Science held it’s 19th annual congress in Amsterdam, “Sports Science Around the Canals”. The congress had 2,760 attendees, from 75 countries, who viewed 4 plenary sessions, 8 key note lectures and 896 oral presentations.
The ECSS.tv web platform broadcasts scientific presentations and lectures plus interviews and background materials from the ECSS annual congress and many other ECSS events. Full access to ECSS.tv is provided to members only from their individual accounts. ECSS.tv is funded by a single sponsor Aspetar, the first specialized Orthopedic and Sports Medicine Hospital in the Gulf region.
ECSS.tv also has a YouTube channel dedicated to educating the public at large about sport science and the role ECSS and its members play. YouTube is the ideal place for attracting viewers from across the globe and introducing them to the ECSS and its activities thus building awareness and importantly ECSS membership. YouTube was chosen because:
More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month
Over 6 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube—that’s almost an hour for every person on Earth
Mobile makes up almost 40% of YouTube’s global watch time
YouTube is available on hundreds of millions of devices
80% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US
YouTube is localized in 61 countries and across 61 languages
Millions of subscriptions happen each day. The number of people subscribing daily is up more than 4x since last year
For BeThereGlobal.com this is our second year recording and web-casting for ECSS.tv. Utilizing a crew of just two we live webcast all of the keynote and plenary presentations and captured over 40 select sessions in two rooms for on-demand viewing. All of these activities where posted daily on ECSS.tv for immediate viewing and feedback by the attendees. Next year this event moves to Malmö, Sweden where we are looking forward to providing enhanced event coverage that will include more session recording and webcasts plus live broadcasts from the ECSS.tv studio located on the exhibit floor.
Our congratulations to ECSS and the local organizers, the MOVE Research Institute Amsterdam, the EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research and both the VU University Amsterdam and VU University Medical Center Amsterdamfor a hosting such a marvelous event.
Conference recording and web-casting are ideal ways to add value to your event because they:
Allow members/staff/customers/prospects who cannot attend in person to participate.
Give physical attendees access to all the concurrent sessions.
Extend the availability of the content beyond the few days of the conference itself
Provide content that can be used to promote programs, sponsors and future events.
Offer increased opportunities for sponsors and exhibitors to connect to your audience.
But for most organizers the real issues are will these activities reduce physical attendance and will they generate revenue. The fact is that the conference industry is probably past the tipping point with providing content on-line.
Let’s take a clue from the entertainment industry. In the 90’s the music industry was slow to adapt to on-line delivery and their profits were decimated by piracy. Yet Hollywood embraced on-line delivery and today more films will be watched online (legally) than purchased as physical products. According to IHS Screen Digest Americans watched 3.4 billion movies online in 2012, a considerably larger number than the 2.4 billion DVDs sold. In the meantime, the music industry has been playing catch up. Between 2000 and 2010 CD sales declined by 50% and last year digital music sales surpassed physical music sales making up 50.3% of all music sold. So its clear content owners ignore online delivery at their peril.
Bringing these learnings back to the conference world and combining it with our extensive experience of recording and streaming conferences across many different sectors, we recommend organizers deploy some or all of the following tactics if they want to profit from what are increasingly being called ‘hybrid events’.
Provide members with live coverage of plenary/general sessions. But give remote viewers a voice; allow them to participate by submitting questions to the presenters or responding to polls. Events streamed live create interest in your organization, promote future events and expose your message to news media and social media. Depending on your objectives, you can limit access to members (or other specific group) and invited guests.
Record all sessions to improve the value offer for physical attendees. A large conference or congress would normally require require attendees to choose between simultaneous sessions. They may be torn as to which to choose, or may decide to skip a session in favour of networking time. It’s a powerful offer to allow them to catch all the sessions that interest them later at preferential rates as a ‘thank you’ for being there.
Create an on-line Conference TV channel that offers daily updates on activities at the conference. The schedule might include interviews with speakers and delegates, plenary/general session coverage, social media check-ins, promotions for upcoming activities and exhibit floor tours. All of this activity generates buzz and allows viewers to see what they are missing. Conference TV can be advertiser/sponsor supported and offered free of charge to maximise reach.
Poll your audience on relevant issues and on the sessions they view / attend. This information can be invaluable to conference organizers. Find out what worked well and what did not. Discover insights into the views and practices of your members. Consider offering your exhibitors a poll as a paid upgrade.
Perhaps by now you are convinced that streaming elements of your conference on-line is a valuable exercise and is probably something you are going to have to do sooner or later anyway.
In my next blog I will look at some of the specific models that can be applied to generating revenue and also some of the techniques that can be applied to reduce or avoid piracy.
Today Association Event Planner published my latest guest blog in their Insider Views series, the message of which was about the need for associations to strategically consider the value inherent in their conferences and congress sessions and how they can get the best return on their investment. It is a reaction to and comment on the controversial speech delivered by Andrew Keen, who incidentally describes himself in his Twitter bio as “The Anti Christ of Silicon Valley”, at the International and European Associations Congress back in June, when he warned associations about the perils of losing their “exclusivity” by sharing content on line for free. You can see the full speech here – and yes it is free!
Shortly after I saw this had been posted my attention was drawn to a blog by Dan Rayburn about the YouTube live stream of the Felix Baumgartner Red Bull Stratos jump and the subsequent media hype over the number of viewers it attracted. It reminded me that its not only associations that are trying to make sense of how to profit from streamed content.
As Dan says
“Webcasting events live on the web has been going on for more than 15 years now and it’s time the media stops getting all giddy with bandwidth numbers and instead, starts asking the questions of how this medium can be monetized, when content owners will start to make money from live events and what changes need to take place in the market so that webcasts can be profitable events for content owners, as opposed to simply a way for someone to show off meaningless stream count numbers.”
I think he missed the point with this specific example, because clearly, as a blog comment by Daniel Demsky points out in no uncertain terms,
” It was a giant Red Bull commercial for crying out loud!”
That agreed, Dan’s point is sound for any content owners who are or are planning to stream their content live (or on demand); they need to consider very carefully the business case for so doing. Having millions, thousands, hundreds or tens of viewers – whatever scale of audience you aspire to – counts for nothing if you don’t have a sound reasons for streaming in the first place.
Don’t get carried away by the shiny technology; it has to make solid business sense or you are wasting time, effort and money.